Town in Maine Cuts Public Housing for Medical Marijuana Patients

from's medical cannabis section

7/29/2011 – The Brewer Public Housing Authority passed a ban on medical marijuana this week. Maine residents with qualifying medical conditions have accessed cannabis though home cultivation or caregivers since 2000. Voters approved an expansion of the law in 2009 that allows eight dispensaries. The first four opened this year. But it will be impossible for seriously ill Brewer Public Housing tenants to participate in the state’s compassionate use program.

The Bangor Daily News reported:

“No resident can use medical marijuana in our projects [and] if they do they will be evicted,” Executive Director Gordon Stitham said.

The ban covers both public housing units and privately owned properties that fall under the federally funded Section 8 housing program, he said.

“Any landlord or any tenant receiving public assistance under the Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher Program will not be able to use medical marijuana in their units,” Stitham said. read full

This could mean that those patients already in the program who wish to keep their housing must use the therapy and store their supply away from home.

But wait, there’s more. Here’s the most chilling part of the BHPA decision:

“You can have it, but you’re not going to bring it into our projects,” Stitham said, adding that applications for housing from medical marijuana patients will automatically be rejected.

“We’re not going to be able to serve you because of the medical marijuana,” he said. read full

Unfortunately, Brewer is not alone. Housing authorities around the country have made the same move to create a hard policy of denying any applications from registered medical marijuana patients. Vancouver, Washington and Portland, Oregon have issued similar bans.

Kris Hermes is the spokesperson at Americans for Safe Access (ASA), a national lobbying group for medical marijuana. They also have an impressive record of successful lawsuits protecting people’s civil rights. He said they frequently hear from patients who are affected by these policies.

“This is definitely a common complaint,” said Hermes. “People report to ASA that they are being discriminated against by landlords and housing authorities.”

These new policies seem like clear cases of discrimination against low-income individuals dealing with a major illness, such as cancer or HIV. But because of the close tie-ins with federal funding, especially Section 8, the local managers tend to defer to the fed.

The US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) did issue a memo in January 2011 to address this issue. HUD pointed out that marijuana remains illegal under federal law, therefore no accommodations are required for patients in state programs.

But Keith Stroup Esq. at the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML) pointed out that HUD left the policy decision up to housing managers. “The impression we had is that the local authorities have the discretion,” said Stroup today.

Memos from the US Department of Justice have also made clear that federal authorities should not interfere with individual medical marijuana patients. Local housing boards may need to take the DOJ position into consideration as well as HUD’s comments when deciding on a policy.

Some states, like Rhode Island, have stronger language in their compassionate use laws that may serve to protect patient housing. But the only way to really gain those protections is to get a court ruling to strike down a local ban.

In Brewer, Maine, the blanket opposition to medical marijuana seems to be standard operating procedure. A moratorium was passed in 2010 to make sure none of the state-regulated dispensaries could locate in the town. Regardless, enforcing the new housing policy may be extremely difficult. New provisions were enacted by Maine’s Legislature this year that expand privacy protections for those in the medical cannabis program. Patients are no longer required to be part of the state registry.

Kris Hermes at Americans for Safe Access said, “It is unconscionable in this age to be preventing poor medical marijuana patients from participating in public housing.”

Chris Goldstein is a respected marijuana reform advocate. As a writer and radio broadcaster he has been covering cannabis news for over a decade. Questions?  [email protected]

Top Marijuana Officials Resign in New Jersey

State House dome in Trenton – photo by C. David Freitag

The two officials at the NJ Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS) who were in charge of the new medical marijuana program have resigned. Dr. Poonam Alaigh and Dr. Susan Walsh made the surprise announcements last week just after they helped issue permits to first six Alternative Treatment Centers for supplying cannabis.

The New Jersey Senate and Assembly have declared that regulations proposed by DHSS for the medical marijuana program do not follow the intent of the law. Doctors Alaigh and Walsh oversaw the creation of the contentious rules.

Filling the recent vacancies at the moment are Mary O’Dowd (Commissioner) and Dr. Christina Tan (Deputy Commissioner). O’Dowd’s husband currently works on the staff of Governor Christie’s Chief Counsel. A physician must hold one of the two positions at NJ DHSS.

The Coalition for Medical Marijuana New Jersey (CMMNJ) issued a statement today about the resignations:

It is our hope the new DHSS officials in charge of the Medicinal Marijuana Program will uphold the intent of the law, unlike their predecessors. CMMNJ suggests the following:

– The DHSS Commissioner and Deputies must commit themselves to understanding and openly stating that marijuana is medicine, since that is what the law declares.

– DHSS should be responsive to the concerns of marijuana experts and patients. Previous public hearings have elicited hundreds of impassioned pleas from patients, advocates and potential ATC operators that have been uniformly ignored by DHSS.

Today in Philadelphia: “Smoke Down” Marijuana Prohibition

I am your neighbor and I smoke pot

"I am your neighbor and I smoke pot" sign at PhillyNORML march 2010

Press release – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 12/15/2012
UPDATE: Over 600 have signed up on Facebook

“Smoke Down Prohibition” at Independence Hall

Philadelphia – Landmark victories in Colorado and Washington State have legalized marijuana for adults but prohibition continues for the rest of America. Cannabis and hemp legalization supporters will gather at Independence Hall this Saturday to call for an end to the federal war on marijuana.

Organized by local comedy activism crew The Panic Hour “Smoke Down Prohibition” will feature speeches from political reform groups, including PhillyNORML.

The Panic Hour issued this statement from their production bunker today: “We love marijuana, smoke it daily, and so do millions of other Americans. We are hardworking, taxpaying, cannabis-using Americans not criminals, and we’ll be out in full force at the Liberty Bell this Saturday.”

Participants and supporters are gathering at 5th & Market at 3:30PM with a moment of cannabis reflection promptly at 4:20PM.

The protest site is among The Liberty Bell, The First Presidential Mansion, Independence Hall and the National Constitution Center. The location is designated as “The People’s Plaza,” an area reserved for 1st Amendment demonstrations. Participants will be engaging in clear acts of protest and/or civil disobedience to highlight the failed policy of federal cannabis prohibition.

“Our Constitution; federalism;  the concept of American Liberty were crafted right here,” said PhillyNORML Board member Chris Goldstein, “so this is a good place to ask President Obama and Congress to end this failed policy and legalize cannabis.”


N.A. Poe and Steve Miller-Miller from The Panic Hour; Adam Kokesh from AdamvsTheMan; Chris Goldstein from PhillyNORML; Ken Wolski from The Coalition for Medical Marijuana New Jersey (CMMNJ); Colleen Begley NJ marijuana defendant; Vanessa Waltz medical marijuana patient; more speakers may be added.

Those who may be participating in civil disobedience are aware of the following: The National Park Service can issue a citation for marijuana possession. This is usually not a custodial arrest – it is a summons to federal court that can be settled by paying a $175 fine. This only applies to those in possession of a SMALL amount (i.e. a joint) and their legal ID.


Event on Facebook:

Time: Saturday December 15, 2012 from 3:30PM to 4:35PM

4:20PM – Moment of Cannabis Reflection

Location: 5thSt and Market St Philadelphia

CONTACT: The Panic Hour: [email protected] PhillyNORML [email protected]

Three great marijuana books from East Coast authors

Black Tuna Diaries: The True Story of America’s Most Notorious Marijuana Smuggler – author Robert Platshorn (Bobby Tuna) is a native of Philadelphia, PA now based in Florida.

Reefer Movie Madness: The Ultimate Stoner Film Guide – Author Steve Bloom is the editor of based in New York City

The Official High Times Field Guide to Marijuana Strains – Author Danny Danko is the cultivation editor at High Times Magazine and a native of Boston, MA.

This is why Christmas is Bullshit

Found this video while browsing through the lovely website, UK-based Dope-Smoker. (Take note of their clean, contemporary design. There are so many collegiate-looking weed sites out there bogged down with too much green and pot leaves – nice to see something more modern.)

On a lighter note, my picks for the very few holiday tunes that don’t want me want to impale myself with skewers:

The War on Drugs Is Not a Slogan

President Reagan meets Jonathan Magbie. At 27 years old, Jonathan would die on the floor of a Washington DC city jail. In 2004 he was arrested for smoking a marijuana blunt to ease the pain he endured as a quadriplegic. photo

6/17/2011 by Chris Goldstein – When President Nixon signed an Executive Order on June 17, 1971 it sent the United States down a costly path of prohibition. This misguided effort pits Americans against each other in a never-ending battle of biology, psychology and human nature. The result has been a nuclear reactor of violence and deadly addiction.

The “War on Drugs” is not a slogan. Ask any Police Officer. Ask anyone who lives in Trenton, Philadelphia or Camden. This is a pitched battle right in our streets and in our homes.  Thousands have lost their lives. Millions have gone to prison. Trillions of tax dollars have been spent at every level. There has never been a measurable result, only more victims.

I have seen many levels of this war in person. In high school my Quaker group helped tutor middle-school students in Camden. Spending time in the neighborhoods over the years brought the open air drug trade into quick focus. Then in the late 1990′s I was employed on a contract to test various housing projects in Philadelphia for lead paint. Armed with a computer pack and an x-ray gun we walked through thousands of occupied units in high rises and row homes. This is the no man’s land, communities that have been obliterated by the constant shelling.

For the last decade I have been working on marijuana law reform because it is the key to solving the drug war problem. Cannabis chalks up more arrests every year in the US than for all other drugs combined. The irony is that it was not supposed to be included under criminal prohibitions at all.

When President Nixon made that devastating order in 1971 marijuana was classified with drugs like cocaine as a temporary measure.  Nixon tapped a fellow Republican who had just stepped down as Pennsylvania governor to find out how cannabis should be treated. Raymond P. Shafer led The National Commission on Marihuana and Drug Abuse.

This team of sociologists, psychologists, physicians, lawmakers and policy experts toured the country to conduct careful research and observations. Shafer then led the effort to craft the strikingly candid final report: “Marihuana: A Signal of Misunderstanding.” The conclusion was that cannabis should not remain in the narcotic drugs scheme. The Commission went further, recommending that personal possession of cannabis – even transfer for no remuneration – should be decriminalized.

If President Nixon had followed that careful advice we would have never fought a war against marijuana. Instead we would have eventually regulated the cannabis markets for recreation and medication. Hemp farming would be a valuable part of our agricultural economy and sustainable products. But Nixon was not pleased with the Commissions’ assessments and chose to leave them out of policy.

The “War on Drugs” is not a slogan. It is fought with laws, bullets, money, prison cells and human beings. It is fought in front of us every day. And it can stop. A real truce is to begin treating serious drug addiction as a public health problem. In order to pay for that treatment and research we need to legalize marijuana.

But this also brings up the bigger picture: Ending marijuana prohibition and signing a final armistice for the drug war could swiftly jumpstart the national economy – at a time when we need it the most. The tremendous influx of tax revenue from cannabis is already being realized in some places through medical marijuana. This is where the missing jobs could be found, in the millions.

Ending the drug war is the most important social justice and economic policy change we need to make today. After 40 years of failure it is time to try something new.

Chris Goldstein is a respected marijuana reform advocate. As a writer and radio broadcaster he has been covering cannabis news for over a decade. Questions?  [email protected]

The Top Ten Biggest Buzz Kills

Just because you’re buzzed doesn’t mean life stops being annoying. In a perfect world, we’d beam ourselves to a hassle-free planet and ride unicorns and eat marshmallow pies all day.

Until then, we must deal with these 10 buzz kills:

1. Cops

The uniform, the car, the militaristic attitude…goodbye buzz, hello “Can you step out of the vehicle?” (If you’re lucky, it’s a stripper cop and it’s all a great big joke with a sexy ending.)

2. Losing Stuff

My friend Lisa had a rule of thumb: get everything ready before you get stoned. Everything. If you wait until after, you will search endlessly for your keys, phone or general purpose in life. And never find it…never find it.

3. Frigid Temperatures

When I was a flannel-wearing teen lass, I used to hang out at an arcade in South Jersey. Our long-haired gang would pop into the woods on an icy winter’s night to light up. We’d all wonder why we didn’t feel high…until we went back into the arcade and our high would thaw out, just like magic! Head magic.

4. The Rambler

Nothing can be more deadly to a perfectly good high than the Rambler, who starts a story with no intentions of ending it. And because you’re high, you can’t muster up the energy to interject. So instead, you get sucked in, deeper and deeper. Soon your buzz has been bored right the hell out of you, never to return. (The Lecturer has a similar effect.)

5. Your Mother

Okay, some of you get high with your mom and she’s so cool and blah, blah, blah. But parents are similar to cops; you feel like you’ve done something wrong by merely being in their presence. They’re judging, watching all the time. And don’t you forget it.

6.  A Blow to the Head

Once during a party I got hit on the head by a lamp while pulling my coat out of the closet. Boom – high completely gone. Fucking lamp.

7. Monsters

They’re fun in the movies but when they are in your living room, they are unpredictable, angry and messy (because of the green goo). They also will eat your weed and projectile vomit it back up, which isn’t pleasant and a waste of perfectly good weed.

8. Dental Work

I thought it would be a good idea to smoke a little prior to some extensive dental work I had years back. Unfortunately, it just heightened the torturous sensations. Pretty soon, I thought the dentist had it out for me like Olivier in Marathon Man. My buzz was literally drilled out of my head.

9. Existential Angst

There is no god. You are all alone. The people are laughing at you and you look ridiculous. The world feels dry, chalky and desolate and you’re the only scrap of humanity left. The best you can do is listen to some Pink Floyd and embrace the painful truth. Cheetos may help but I make no guarantees.

10. Alien Abduction

I know, it depend on the alien, of course. Some aliens are totally down for a good time but others are into naval probing and mind melding. I find the smaller, ET-style aliens are much more easy going than the ones with the two rows of teeth.

So watch out for buzz kills. Life is short and highs aren’t cheap. Remember: you can always just walk away…even from the cops. Especially from the cops. Go do your own thing. Create your own world. Screw everyone else. Marshmallow pies await you, my friend.

Beth Mann is a popular blogger and writer for Open Salon and Salon. She is also an accomplished artist with over 15 years of experience, as well as the president of Hot Buttered Media. She currently resides at the Jersey shore where she can be found surfing or singing karaoke at a local dive bar.

Contact: maryjane {at }

The Rise of Corporate Cannabis

4/12/2011 – The nascent medical marijuana program in New Jersey may change the laboratory research landscape for cannabis. Several of the first six Alternative Treatment Centers are planning heavy investments (tens of millions of dollars) into lab equipment and manpower. Although explained away as regulatory compliance the long-term profits from this type of science could be substantial.

In other states the legal medical marijuana industry consists of small businesses using a holistic model of care. The Garden State is  exploring a centralized system modeled on corporate health care instead. This could be the biggest change yet for the domestic medical cannabis market.

The result could be a disaster for patients like Sandy Faiola in Asbury Park, NJ and Charles Kwiatkowski in Hazlet who both live with Multiple Sclerosis. They joined well-known MS patient Montel Williams on a recent Dr. Oz Show. All three use raw Cannabis flowers to treat their symptoms and they all must access the underground market for relief.

New Jersey’s draft regulations – set to be finalized in May – call for each licensed facility to grow just three strains of cannabis, all of them less than 10 percent THC. Patients would only be allowed two ounces per month. The soviet-style regulated supply will be inadequate for Chuck and Sandy. They may continue to face arrest even though they have supporting physicians and would fully qualify for the program because they will need to find better quality pot on the street.

The dust never really settled in NJ for the medical marijuana debate, the battle lines only shifted. Governor Chris Christie, a conservative Republican with national presence, has been right in the middle since his first day in office. While bulldozing through a difficult budget, the characteristically aggressive Governor also rolled his heavy tracks over local AIDS and cancer patients. He successfully delayed the implementation of the compassionate use law for over a year, now Christie is pushing forward a set of regulations for therapeutic cannabis have their roots in deepest bedrock of big-money politics.

Half of the first six Alternative Treatment Centers were awarded to groups who have close ties right back to the Christie Administration. Democrats suddenly got a green thumb too; another licensed ATC has the Deputy Majority Leader in the State Assembly, Thomas Giblin, on the medical advisory board.

Then the two top officials at the Department of Health and Senior Services who have overseen the NJ medical marijuana program for over a year, Dr. Poonam Alaigh and Dr. Susan Walsh,  resigned just after the ATC awards. It was a strange and still unexplained twist, but somehow par for the course in NJ.

Now, even the most politically connected marijuana production centers in the country are still complaining about Governor Christie’s very unscientific ‘ten-percent cap’ on THC potency. Because of federal prohibitions cannabis research in the United States is very limited. By exploiting the current conflict between state and federal law the ATCs in New Jersey could be used to study marijuana and its component cannabinoids for pharmaceutical endeavors years down the road. Limiting THC might interfere with the super-lab concept.

But Sandy, Chuck and Montel don’t need research or something years away. Thousands like them risk arrest every day as Governor Christie demonizes medical marijuana programs in other states while select politicos are awarded the pot futures. The Compassionate Use Medical Marijuana Act had a model to bring sick and terminal patients out of the underground marijuana market. It was not passed as a plan to turn marijuana into a processed pharmaceutical.

Thankfully the Legislature is ready to act. Senator Nicholas Scutari has introduced SCR151, a resolution that would invalidate the worst parts of Governor Christie’s proposed regulations. The rare legislative maneuver is meant to maintain the integrity of the compassionate use law and the state Constitution.  If successful, the move could re-focus the regulations on the patients instead of business interests. The Senate and the Assembly have already passed similar resolutions and it would not require the Governor’s signature.

Still, the fact that health insurance companies, pharmaceutical manufactures, mainstream political players and hospital groups now actually own most of New Jersey’s regulated marijuana market is a major sea-change for the issue. The debate is no longer centered on whether medical cannabis should be legal or not but who makes the money.

Seriously ill and terminal residents use marijuana safely every day. Humans have used it for thousands of years and American medical cannabis is already turning a healthy profit.  But the big green bubble of the US cannabis economy is inflated only by federal policy; the current cost for high-grade medical cannabis is simply the price of prohibition. The mainstream corporate interests looking to farm some of that cash have found fertile ground in the Garden State.

The Negative Impact Of The Marijuana Culture Upon Women – Vintage Anti-Marijuana Video

You know, the real problem here is the fact that this woman and her friends are incredibly boring – pot or not. Don’t go blaming the weed.

The captions become increasingly funny though. They include:

“Do marijuana smoking men make good husbands? Are they reliable? Responsible?”
“While many claim to function well on grass, outside observers disagree.”
“Marijuana can be a gateway to other drugs, such as mescaline.” [Really? Mescaline? Who can get their hands on that stuff?]

Beth Mann is a popular blogger and writer for Open Salon and Salon. She is also an accomplished actor and director with over 15 years of experience, as well as the president of Hot Buttered Media. She currently resides at the Jersey shore where she can often be seen surfing or singing karaoke at the local dive bar. Contact: maryjane {at }

Other blogs:

Silly Lists of Nothingness

The Most Boring Blog Ever

The Final Four According to Cannabis Research

The NCAA men’s basketball tournament was announced March 17th with a wave of free brackets, guides, Apps, and various experts that give the impression of mystical haruspices with their predictions.

This year we need a new way to determine final four picks. This is your chance to change the way you root for teams, here is a quick guide to base your picks on the quality of the universities contributions to the Cannabis and cannabinoid research field.

Here are final four picks for the 2013 NCAA tournament based on cannabinoid research:

Southern Division:

This year my pick for the southern division is the Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU). VCU has generated a lot in terms of cannabis and cannabinoid research. There are a lot of great researchers at VCU,  rewarded with substantial grant funding for many different project. The late and great Billy Martin was a VCU professor who is accredited with “changing the landscape of drug abuse research in this country.”

Here a few projects that are being funded:

The Discovery and Characterization of New Endocannabinoids. Many people are starting to learn about anandamide and 2-AG the THC-like compounds made by our body, but there could dozens if not 100s of these endocannabinoids that our body can make for a variety of purposes.

Cannabis-like compounds to treat HIV/AIDS associated Brain Inflammation. Cannabinoid receptor activation may be able to prevent brain damage associated HIV/AIDS disease progression

Increasing Cannabinoid Receptor Activity to Fight Alzheimer’s Diseases. This study uses an approach to increase anandamide levels by inhibiting the protein FAAH. Increasing endocannabinoid system activity has beneficial effects on cognitive decline in animal models of the disease.

In 2012, VCU researchers published their cannabinoid research in prestigious science such as the British Journal of Pharmacology and Journal of Molecular Pharmacology.

Eastern Division

Temple University continually produces high quality cannabinoid and drug abuse research. Temple researchers have published a study showing that cannabinoids can decrease HIV replication and a research team has received a grant to study the protective effects of CB2 receptor activation in the brain. Temple University is also home to some of the leading Ph.D experts in cannabinoid research, such as Jahan Marcu (Cannabis Researcher of the year 2012).

Western Division

For decades Ole Miss has been growing Cannabis for researchers and patients. Thanks to the tireless work of Mahmoud Elsohly a few lucky researchers have received NIDA “marijuana cigarettes.”

These studies demonstrated that smoked Cannabis is effective for treating chemotherapy induced nausea and vomiting, as well as providing effective relief from neuropathic pain.

The surviving patients under the IND program receive about 300 “marijuana cigarettes” a month, 10 joints a day is the approximate recommendation to treat symptoms of their incurable diseases (On a personal note, Dr. Elsohly is also one of the nicest and most open researchers I have ever met).

Midwest Division

Michigan State University has many active cannabinoid researchers who have published on a range of topics:

Role of CB1 receptors in the immune system

How THC may help with the Flu

John McPartland, a cannabis and endocannabinoid expert also publishes some of his work via Michigan State University. Researchers at Michigan State have also received a grant to study the potential of cannabinoids to stimulate new brain cell formation.


The final four of NCAA division I tournament of cannabinoid research would consist of Temple, VCU, Ole Miss, and Michigan State University. It’s a tough call, but Temple has the potential to take cannabinoid and drug abuse research to another level (However, I received my Ph.D from Temple and that may be a conflict of interest for this final four pick).

Temple University aside, Ole Miss would go all the way if the tournament was based simply on Cannabis research.

Ole Miss is the only place where you can find marijuana growing that is completely “legal”, as in the Feds and the DEA recognize its legitimacy; it is also the ONLY source of Cannabis for research purposes.

The ball is literally in Ole Miss’ court. However, VCU remains a cut above the rest, a deep team with a rich history of accomplishment and notoriety in the cannabinoid research field.

Jahan Marcu, Ph.D, is currently investigating the pharmacology of cannabinoid receptors. He was working at the California Pacific Medical Center Research Institute when exciting discoveries were made showing enhanced anti-cancer effects with THC and CBD from the Cannabis plant. The findings were published in the Journal of Molecular Cancer Therapeutics. In 2009 he received the Billy Martin Award from the International Cannabinoid Research Society (ICRS) and in 2013 was named Cannabis Researcher of the Year. Jahan is currently the vice-chair the Medical and Scientific Advisory Board at Americans for Safe Access (ASA). Questions?   Contact   [email protected]

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily represent any University, business or affiliates. While the information provided in this blog is from published scientific studies it is not intended to diagnose or treat any disease.